Will you please share the gift of kindness this Christmas?

Will you please share the gift of kindness this Christmas?

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Almost two years ago I created a social movement called Suspended Coffees. A suspended coffee is the advance purchase of a cup of coffee, for someone who needs it, no matter why. The entire movement is based on kindness, generosity, compassion, and hope. During this time, I’ve devoted myself full time, to working on and building Suspended Coffees. It soon started to touch peoples’ lives, people I would never even meet. I had finally found my purpose in life.

For a long time, I worked from behind my computer, which resulted in over 250,000 followers and over 2000 cafes supporting the idea of Suspended Coffees, but I started to ask myself how I could have a bigger impact. How could I make kindness spread beyond the Facebook page? How could I show my friends, family, and my children that the importance of kindness should never ever be underestimated?

Two days before I went to visit the amazing Marc Winn in Guernsey, to be the guest speaker to the Dandelion Project, the opportunity to put my words into practice came when I was walking through Cork city. I met a young, homeless mother sitting across from an ATM machine, almost invisible to the world. I put money in her cup and thanked her for letting me do so. As I walked on, the image of her face stayed with me. I couldn’t get her stricken face out of my head, so I walked back to her and asked her if I could buy her a coffee or some food. She was kind enough to allow me to buy her some food and chat with her for a while. Right before I left, I looked her in the eyes and said, “I see you. No matter how lonely the world might seem, I really can see you.”

When I got home, I told the story of the pretty lady without a home, to my young children. I explained that she had children the same age as them, and even though I couldn’t really afford it, buying her a sandwich was the very least I had to do. They realized that it was much more than food that I had given her, and they started to cry. They told me that they were proud of me and that I had the best job in the world – being kind to others.

We recently visited the house of some good friends, and while our children were playing, I shared what had happened. Their son Isaac listened intently, but I never imagined the impact that my story would have on an 11 year old and his family. I received a picture and a message from his mother, Imelda, a few days ago. Here is what it said.

“Very proud of my Isaac. Yesterday he went that extra mile in Cork city and stopped to chat with a homeless young lady, bought her a burger and then shopped for Christmas gifts for her 3 very young children. It was incredibly emotional as he handed over the gifts and Xmas card to her. She held our hands and sobbed her heart out. Isaac said it was the 1st time he ever truly witnessed someone crying with gratitude and he felt a joy he never knew before. I am so thankful for that experience yesterday and am not sharing this to brag but rather to share a piece of Christmas joy. Isaac and I were inspired by our good friend John Sweeney and his Suspended Coffees movement and now we hope others will also be inspired and partake in a simple random act of kindness this Christmas. Cork city was full of homeless people yesterday. It was so sad to see. Yet we feel blessed to have met a lovely lady who shared a piece of her story with us.”

Everyone needs kindness in their lives, rich, poor, young and old. Please don’t ever underestimate the power of a kind act, no matter how small it may seem. You might not realize it at the time, but one simple act – a smile, a friendly hello, a hug – these are all things that can turn someone’s day around. As Christmas approaches, I encourage you to share one more gift…the gift of kindness.  ‪#‎morethanthecoffee‬

Notes from Marc

John Sweeney is the kindest human being I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with. I spend much of my life thinking about the big things that can change the world, but in truth, much of what needs to happen is the mass escalation of the small things. Unconditional kindness has the power to transform the human race. John is at the forefront of that transformation.

I would love to hear some of your stories of how kindness has had an impact on your life. Share the gift of your story in the comments section below.

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  1. Bryan Marsh says

    In a healing situation, for a beneficial exchange to take place for the benefit of the patient, it is known that there can be no reaction without an interaction and a corresponding transaction. We are in fact dealing with a fantastic mechanism, capable of replenishing itself under acceptable conditions and is more regularly come to be known as the Human Energy Field, and can be classed quite simply as a superconductor. Kindness is without parallel. Thought is the most powerful thing we possess. Use it to create happiness in all. Your coffee story is an opening into the magnanimity of humanity – if we could only believe our thoughts.

  2. Thank you John Sweeney. When we are able to gift these things to others, a smile, a cup of coffee, a meal, a bag of groceries, the opportunity to be seen or heard, we get so much more in return. The gift is in the giving…

  3. Most of my life I have spent caring for others, as a former nurse, and looking after family friends and strangers. In 1978 my husband became ill, and by 2009 I had knocked up many miles experiencing the problems of Health and Social Systems that never connected to give him, or my Mum or my Mother-and-father in law the understand and kindness they so rightly deserved. The last three years of my Mum’s life was spent fighting to get her better care and when she died from abuse and neglect in a care home, I received an apology for her death and promises that my reports would improve the education and training of their carers. I experienced similar problems with care in the community and in hospitals, but I also experienced good care. When Mum died I was determined to change the culture of caring and ensure that leadership and team work in nursing and care would be dedicated to only kindness . With that in mind I co-founded the Edith Ellen Foundation, in 2013 it received Charity Status and last year it conducted unique and methodical Kindness Audits in the care home sector that has prove it is the Best Practice Process for all nursing and care services and resulted in an Executive Summary promoting the internal and external barriers to proving a good caring experience every time that is now circulating the House of Lords, Commons and the Care Quality Commission. This year The Foundation, and its first wave of Volunteers, starts out to finish what it has started in the Care Home sector and improve the quality of Kindness by connecting these homes to their community,prevent the social isolation of their residents, and turning this homes around to make them Flagships of Kindness and the hub of their communities. Changes have already started since the Foundation delivered individual development reports to the care home involved, and once kindness has inspired changes in the care home sector across the UK, the Foundation will turn its attention to care at home and in hospitals. I guess my messages are: that if services (in any business setting), dedicated kindness to the equal relationship, support, education ,training and resourcing new initiatives for their staff, it will follow that the people that they care for or deal with will all reap the benefits of this kindness and everyone will thrive, as management and teams will have a great understanding and involvement of their needs and wishes; that anyone can make a difference if you put your mind to and kindness into it Best kate

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